Lonely Planet Writer

Bored NY commuter borrows Citibike to cycle across America

A Brooklyn man took the love of his daily commute to a whole new extreme. Jeffrey Tanenhaus has cycled across the States on a New York Citibike. Citibike is responsible for the bike-sharing scheme in New York which Jeffrey belonged to, and the bike has been from New York to California via every territory in between, while Jeffrey documented his epic adventure.

Jeffrey Tanenhaus in his native Brooklyn where he picked up his Citibike
Jeffrey Tanenhaus in his native Brooklyn where he picked up his Citibike Image by Countribike/Instagram

Tired and fed up with the daily drudge, Jeffrey did what people often do. He chucked it all in in favour of travelling across the country. But instead of buying himself a bike and cycling across America, Jeffrey embarked on the adventure with the Citibike that had for so long been the best part of his day.

This seems inconvenient, not only because you are given a $1,200 fine if the bike is not returned within 24 hours, but also because Citibikes are bulky and difficult to cycle for long distances and on tricky terrains. What’s more they weigh 45 pounds, are exceedingly bulky and if they break, no one can repair them except for Citibike.

The Instagram handle is an obvious play on the fact that the bike has gone across the country
The Instagram handle is an obvious play on the fact that the bike has gone across the country Image by Countribike/Instagram

But none of this mattered to Jeffrey, and the added quirk of the daft scheme has landed him a growing Instagram following and has captured people’s imaginations.

Taking off from his own native Brooklyn, Jeffrey went through New Jersey, much of the Midwest and the southern states of America, coming across everything from welcoming couples and communities, to a murderous truck-driver (who was later arrested). All this Jeffrey documented brilliantly on his Instagram account, capturing the wilderness of the open road from New Mexico and Route 66, to the best road-side meals he had.

Tanenhous in New Mexico
Tanenhous in New Mexico Image by Countribike/Instagram

Speaking to The Guardian, Jeffrey’s dad said he was concerned for Jeffrey going across the US in such a peculiar and potentially dangerous way. “What popped into my mind immediately was Breaking Bad,” he said, continuing to say that he was dubious whether his son would make it to California as he’d planned to.

Making slow progress and slow friends
Making slow progress and slow friends Image by Countribike/Instagram

But in spite of his parent’s scepticism, Jeffrey has covered 2,930.1 miles to date on the bike, with next to no training as a cyclist. He told The Guardian that he thinks people were into the idea of the journey because of the quirkiness of the idea. He is now planning his arrival date which is 23 January in Santa Monica.

Jeffrey says the reception he got was often remarkably warm and friendly
Jeffrey says the reception he got was often remarkably warm and friendly Image by Countribike/Instagram

Citibike, who might have jumped on the story for PR reasons, have declined to comment on  Jeffrey and his amazing adventure. But he is overjoyed by the life-changing decision he made, in spite of the fact that as he says, he didn’t develop a six-pack from all that cycling.